How Canadian soldiers reacted to news of an armistice in 1918
'You don't think it's come to a conclusion too readily if you're still getting sniped at'
"At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month" is a phrase that is heard each year on Remembrance Day, referring to the exact time, day and month of the signing of the 1918 Armistice to end the First World War.
In the mid-1960s, CBC Radio's Flanders Fields told the story of the war through interviews with veterans. According to some, talk of a coming end was greeted with laughter.
"An armistice? No, you'll be fighting here at this time of year," was the reaction of W.A. Dunlop.
As G. Little, of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, put it: "You don't think it's come to a conclusion too readily if you're still getting sniped at."
C.H. Mitchell summed up the confusion of hearing that suddenly it was all over: "You were wondering what it was all about, you were fighting the day before and men being killed and the next day the war's all finished."
A G. Kilpatrick, chaplain with the 42nd battalion, described the entry into Mons, Belgium. The town had been occupied by Germany since 1914, until it was liberated by the Canadians on Nov. 11, 1918.
He described the "perfect furor of enthusiasm" of the civilians, as they hung flags they had hidden during the occupation and greeted the Canadians as they marched in.
'He never knew that it was over'
Arthur Goodmurphy told Flanders Fields the story of the death of his 28th Battalion comrade George Price.
Considered to be the last Canadian to have been killed before the war ended, Price's official time of death is two minutes before the shooting stopped.
According to Goodmurphy, it was Price's last-minute decision to make sure there were not Germans hidden across from where their group had been told to halt and wait.
When he told his commanding officer that they had gone to investigate and Price had been killed, Goodmurphy said "he [blew] a fuse."
The officer told him: "The war's over!"
"Poor old Price, he never knew that it was over, you know," said Goodmurphy. "He was just doing his job."
The complete episode of the program Flanders Fields can be heard below.